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Gender Inequality In Literature Essay

1397 words - 6 pages

Gender Inequality in Literature
Gender equality, men and women having the same rights and obligations, and everyone having the same opportunities in society, has been a topic of discussion for many centuries (Dorious and Firebaugh). Women have used literature as a voice to defend their gender equality rights. Female authors have tried to achieve extraordinary success in literature while functioning in a culture that frowned upon female literary desire. Men greatly dominate the profession (Dorious and Firebaugh). Until well into the nineteenth century, it was common for both male and female writers to publish under a pseudonym. Fiction was a genre that was frequently published anonymously. ...view middle of the document...

” The Declaration ended by vowing to fight woman's "social and religious degradation" and, to that end, attempted "to enlist the pulpit and the press in our behalf". The final resolution of the document unanimously passed at Seneca Falls vowed to overthrow "the monopoly of the pulpit" and to secure to woman "an equal participation with men in the various trades, professions, and commerce" (Stanton). Women fought for equality that sadly never came (Zink-Sawyer). Even though the drive force of this document was women, male abolitionist Frederick Douglass was one of the individuals that brought attention to this document (Zink-Sawyer). The women fought and won the right to be heard but it was clear, men still had a stronger voice that powered above women.
In order to gain a stronger voice in the literary world, Victorian author and journalist Marian Evans assumed the pen name George Eliot. In order to distance herself from the female romance novelists of the time and to ensure that her works were taken seriously, Marian Evans published many of her pieces under the male pen name (George Eliot: Biographical Materials). George Eliot believed that the Victorian society did not provide conditions for women to become professional or vocational authors (Hadjiaxendi 141).
Her piece “Margaret Fuller and Mary Wollstonecraft”, due to the strong argument for women, is signed with a male name in order to be considered for reading (George Eliot: Biographical Materials). Eliot states, “here is a notion commonly entertained among men that an instructed woman, capable of having opinions, is likely to prove an unpracticable yoke-fellow, always pulling one way when her husband wants to go the other, oracular in tone, and prone to give curtain lectures on metaphysics” (Eliot 3), to express the man’s fear of a powerful woman. If the piece was signed with a female name, the piece would not be considered for reading or considered dangerous (VanEsveld). In the 1800s, men easily dismissed women that they considered to be strong. The stronger the woman, the crazier she would be considered (VanEsveld). This lead to women to be careful about the topics they wrote about (Hadjiafxendi).
Using “his” elegant, reasonable writing style, George Eliot writes “his” piece “Margaret Fuller and Mary Wollstonecraft” to argue for the equality of women (Hadjiafxendi). The author argues that women’s rights will never improve due to the dominate role of men. Eliot states, “On one side we hear that women's position can never be improved until women themselves are better, and, on the other, that women can never become better until their position is improved--until the laws are made more just, and a wider field opened to feminine activity” (Eliot 5). Eliot later states that this “catch twenty two” is true, not only about women but about humans in general. However, the overly passionate attitudes of men ignore that fact that human race, not just women have little room for improvement. He...

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